Lysistrata the Musical

According to the women of Greenham, sex is power, sex gives women leverage and sex makes men vulnerable. Three facts which they are not afraid to exploit - all to help bring peace to the world, of course. Flying High Theatre Company have, somewhat bizarrely, merged the Greek plot of Lysistrata with the Greenham Common Protests of the 80's. Lysistrata, the front-woman of this bolshy troupe, ambitiously leads her fellow women in a solid declaration of abstinence, a gesture to make the men in charge more open to change, which in this case addresses the possession of nuclear weapons in Britain.Unfortunately, the tone of the play is haphazard and the plot is sidelined far too often and an ill-fitting and awkward humour takes priority. It's hard to know whether the show is tongue-in-cheek or just slightly off-kilter, which immediately confuses the audience. The level of sexism present didn't seem era appropriate for the Thatcher years and instead would have suited a more 60’s revolutionary setting. Too many liabilities are taken with the plot and, at times, I was asking myself quite literally, what is going on? Similarly, the script spent so much time explaining what was happening in the present that the context of why the women were so impassioned was lost on me. The story barely explored any more than 'women want power – women get power'.However, there are some performances which rescue the show from being generic. Many of the characterisations aid the transition from ancient to modern seamlessly, particularly Myrhinne (Evie Parker) whose manic charm and loyalty to the cause has an air of Stacy Solomon about it. Similarly, Lysistrata (Christie Rolley) is a confident presence who leads the women as efficiently as she leads the audience through the story. The songs, composed by on-stage pianist Jack Quatron, complement the performance well and although some voices shake from time to time they help the cast gain a stronger authority on stage.Frustratingly, any exploration of feminism or sexism remains at a superficial level and it hardly breaks the boundaries of social change. But it's not meant to. There were a few glitches and awkward scene changes, but it was nice to see such optimism by a young cast. It's primarily fun and imaginative and although it probably wasn't what Aristophanes had in mind, it is in no way offensive.

The Blurb

It’s 1983 and Greenham Common women peacefully protest against the storage of nuclear missiles, but to notch things up, Lysistrata persuades them to withdraw sexual activities, resulting in some very stiff men! **** (ThreeWeeks, 2010).